Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud speaks before a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry (not pictured) at his private residence in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
President Reuven Rivlin and former president Shimon Peres each expressed their condolences Friday over the death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah ibn Abdilazīz.
Rivlin said he "was an example of balanced and responsible leadership rooted in deep religious tradition."
"As a "guardian of holy sites" for Islam, King Abdullah worked to honor the sensitivity and sanctity of Jerusalem and sought to promote his vision for a prosperous region," Rivlin said in the statement. "His smart policy contributed greatly to Middle East stability."
Peres, speaking from the Davos for the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, called Kind Abdullah an experienced and wise leader, who had the courage to introduce a peace process for the Middle East.
"The death of His Majesty the King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah is a real loss for peace in the Middle East," the former president said. "I’m not sure we could have accepted all the items in this peace process but the spirit, the strength and the wisdom invested in it impressed all of us."
"I want to express my regret and send my sympathy to his family and to Saudi Arabia."
Abdullah took power in 2005, and was hospitalized last month suffering from pneumonia
. He led the kingdom into a worldwide military alliance against the Islamic State.
His successor King Salman, thought to be 79, has been crown prince and defense minister since 2012. He was governor of Riyadh province for five decades before that.Michael Wilner contributed to this report.